TEC Diocese of Western Massachusetts Statement on Theology and Anti-casino Gambling

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is only one story in the Christian gospels that has to do with gambling. And it happens at the death of Jesus. For all the wondrous hope that Jesus inspired in his corner of the Roman Empire – that the poor were not alone, that wealth was not enough, and that life’s riches came by sharing – for three days, Jesus’s death appeared to be the death of a miraculous abundance that was generated not by acts of possession, but by acts of self-giving and sharing.

The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts has committed itself to a stated mission of “Celebrating God’s Abundance.” Unlike its often vague connotation, here “abundance” bears a technical meaning: if in the world’s economy, the more one takes, the more one ultimately has, in God’s economy, the more one gives, the more one ultimately has....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchGambling* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

Posted July 16, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Milton Finch wrote:

I am reminded of the picking of the first disciple after Judas Iscariot being done by lots.  That also was gambling.

July 16, 12:22 pm | [comment link]
2. Ian+ wrote:

Actually that wasn’t a gamble at all, but the Church trusting God to show them the right man for the job.

July 16, 12:42 pm | [comment link]
3. Br. Michael wrote:

And I would add that he was chosen from a pool of equally qualified candidates:

Acts 1:21 - 2:1   21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us - one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”  23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias.  24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”  26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

July 16, 1:01 pm | [comment link]
4. Milton Finch wrote:

Actually, it took place before Pentecost, so actually there was no “church” to speak of.  It was lots.  It was a form of gambling.

July 16, 1:16 pm | [comment link]
5. Milton Finch wrote:

Come to think of it, it might be the best way to pick Bishops.  It takes the personal agendas away from activists voting and turns to God’s providence in the moment.

July 16, 1:40 pm | [comment link]
6. Undergroundpewster wrote:

The current method of picking bishops is a form of gambling. The fix is in, you are playing with a stacked deck, the house always wins…

July 16, 2:52 pm | [comment link]
7. Milton Finch wrote:


July 16, 2:55 pm | [comment link]
8. tjmcmahon wrote:

Milton (1 and 4)- rolling a die is a way to select a random number between 1 and 6.
It is wagering on the outcome that makes it gambling.

Likewise with casting lots.  Until there is a wager, it is merely a random selection. So far as we know, no one had any money down on who would be chosen from among the disciples.

July 16, 4:02 pm | [comment link]
9. Cennydd13 wrote:

6.  But only in TEC, and only with the approval of the One Who Must Always Be Obeyed.

July 16, 4:08 pm | [comment link]
10. Milton Finch wrote:

TJ, the disciples were wagering that God would choose wisely.

July 16, 4:14 pm | [comment link]
11. Milton Finch wrote:

...and letting it ride!

July 16, 4:15 pm | [comment link]
12. Milton Finch wrote:

Come on baby, gimme, gimme gimme some Joseph called Barsabbas….awwww.  Matthias.  :(

July 16, 4:25 pm | [comment link]
13. Timothy Fountain wrote:

Well, I give thanks that the Diocese took a stand critical of gambling. 

This is one of the few issues where both traditional and progressive Christians have tended to agree.  It is shameful that the government prop up an “amusement” that leads unstable people to squander their resources and immature or desperate people to hope in “luck” to solve financial issues requiring sober work.

The government, whether by actively offering and managing lotteries, or by licensing and collecting revenue from casinos, actively supports a mash up of irresponsible behavior and magical thinking.  I am glad that some of our churches are willing to speak up against this.

July 16, 4:43 pm | [comment link]
14. Timothy Fountain wrote:

Oops, I was comment #13.  So my luck’s run out.

July 16, 4:44 pm | [comment link]
15. Milton Finch wrote:


July 16, 5:47 pm | [comment link]
16. David Keller wrote:

I am surprised none of you have commented on the overall theological vacuousness of the article. I agree with the writers premise that casino gambling is economic bloodsucking, but not because of Roman soldiers. The most interesting twist to this article is a liberal saying even though Jesus never explicitly denounced gambling he was nonetheless against it. This from someone who would say because Jesus never condemned gay marriage, he was for it.

July 16, 7:00 pm | [comment link]
17. Ad Orientem wrote:

FWIW I believe a similar “lottery” is used for the final selection of the Pope by the Coptic Orthodox Church.

July 16, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
18. recchip wrote:

And of course, our Roman brethren do sponsor BINGO!!  (I have suggested it at our parish but can never get a second during Vestry meetings-GRIN).,

July 16, 9:52 pm | [comment link]
19. Br. Michael wrote:

The Amish use a similar lottery to select their preachers and bishops.

July 17, 7:05 am | [comment link]
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